Women in Water –Casey Hardy
Charters Towers Regional Council is fortunate to have competent staff operating its water and wastewater systems. A key member of the team is Casey Hardy, the Senior Operator for Water & Wastewater.
Casey and the team are responsible for the operation of water and wastewater systems in Charters Towers and the townships of Greenvale, Pentland and Ravenswood. The Region spans 68,000 square kilometres and extracts its water from the Burdekin River for Charters Towers, Greenvale and Ravenswood, with Pentland serviced by bores.
Casey’s story is very typical of workers in the Water Industry. She was working for a mining company and looking for a change. An opportunity arose with Banana Shire Council and despite having no experience in Water and Wastewater, Casey applied. She was appointed as an Assistant Operator and immediately given training in Certificate III Water Operations.
After several years with Banana Shire, Casey took time off to have children. On returning to the workforce, she found a position with Charters Towers, and here she has found her niche. Since then, she has not only juggled work responsibilities and children but has also created a small stable of horses that allows her to follow her interests in Camp Drafting and horse training.
Casey notes that before taking the job with Banana Shire, she had no awareness at all of the Water Industry and the extensive career pathways it offers. She suggests that this might be addressed by including discussions and presentations in schools on issues related to water and its value to society. In Regional areas with small teams of multi-skilled workers, it is difficult to ensure enough skilled staff are available when needed. Perhaps the answer is more women in the Operator workforce. One of the obstacles for women is their caring responsibilities and Casey suggests that women might be attracted to the industry if they could access flexible hours allowing time to deal with family matters.
Casey has been offered training in Certificate IV Water Operations and is looking forward to the challenge as another step in her career in the Water Industry.